Christmas wishes Holidays
Operation Santa, which links needy children and families with anonymous volunteer Santas. Photo credit: USPS.com

Want to play Santa for a youngster? The U.S. Postal Service will give you a chance.

People wishing to help the Postal Service answer letters to Santa Claus from needy families may begin signing up on Monday, when Operation Santa registration opens online.

Every year since 1912, postal workers have processed a massive amount of mail from children whose lists include basic necessities like a warm coat, and from parents who describe their struggles with employment or health.

The USPS recruits anonymous individual and group volunteers for help with getting these kids Christmas gifts.

Beginning Nov. 29, anyone can choose one or more of these letters to grant wishes. Family names and addresses are redacted. When a volunteer makes a selection online, a bar-coded shipping label is offered with each letter.

Volunteers can use it to mail gifts directly to the child or family who wrote to Santa.

Among the many groups pitching in to help is Southern California-based BeAnElf.org, which offers an online guide to the program for families in need and for volunteers who wish to adopt a family via their letters to Santa.

Parents seeking help with Christmas gifts can find useful do’s and don’ts at BeAnElf’s “Seeking Gifts” section.

“Some people feel alone and sad over Christmas, and find comfort and inspiration volunteering for this program,” BeAnElf’s Patrick Reynolds told City News Service. “They catch the true spirit of the holidays, knowing they will put smiles on kids’ faces on Christmas.”

Letters to Santa must be postmarked by Dec. 10 to be featured. The site closes for volunteers to provide wishes on Dec. 23.

– City News Service